Happy Monday, everyone. Alabama made it through the October gauntlet and, as predicted, can now coast through a November slate that should be much easier than predicted in the preseason.
Records aside, according to the latest S&P ratings, the Tide will face its toughest opponents in November, as both Auburn and LSU rate better than the Aggies on both sides of the football. The trip to Baton Rouge is going to be a difficult test, particularly with a freshman quarterback. Nothing against Vaught-Hemingway, but Tiger Stadium is a different animal, particularly at night after the critters in the stands, who crawled out of bed at 2pm, have had ample opportunity to get liquored up on homemade moonshine.
We'll have plenty of time to talk about that, though. Right now everybody is heaping deserved praise on this team:
We can debate for the next two weeks whether this is Saban’s best team at Alabama or simply his best defense, we can talk about whether the SEC is down or the Crimson Tide are just that much better than the rest. But what cannot be argued is that after three seasons of Alabama’s dynasty routinely staring at its mortality, an air of inevitability has once again settled over this program. If and when Alabama loses, it will be because of something unforeseen and, to this point, unimaginable. Because even when Alabama plays poorly or misses opportunities, its margins right now are so big that they’re only one play away completely demoralizing their opponents.
Right now in college football there are bad teams, mediocre teams, great teams, and Alabama. The Tide are in a class by themselves — not even Ohio State or Michigan can claim to be at their level — and while any team can be beaten any week, it doesn’t feel like that truth applies to Alabama. Nick Saban has won five National Championships and six SEC titles. He's coached some of the greatest teams in the history of college football. This 2016 Crimson Tide looks like the best team Saban has ever coached.
And unfortunately for Alabama's remaining opponents -- hey, LSU -- the Tide get a bye week now to regroup, heal and tidy things up. According to ESPN's Football Power Index, Alabama currently has a 52 percent chance to win out, which sounds disrespectful to a team that played this well Saturday without actually playing its best against arguably the best team it'll see in the SEC all season.
If there is criticism of this latest dynastic chase, it continues to be internal. "We gave up 100 yards rushing," Allen said later. "If we're the best defense, we can't worry about that. There's a lot of room for us to improve. A hundred yards is way too much. We're actually quite pissed off about it, to be honest." It was 114 rushing yards, actually, but who's counting? There's now two weeks for Alabama to tighten its belt.
Dominance has become expected, like a Nick Saban scowl, houndstooth baby outfits and gameday traffic snarls. And while this team isn’t perfect, it’s becoming increasingly clear someone is going to have to play perfect to beat it. Texas A&M inserted some drama, as one would expect from a top 10 team. But before the final whistle, Tide fans could leave early and face the day’s only real pressure—finding a working restroom.
Funny, nobody is talking about the end of the dynasty right now, are they?
Of course, the news wasn't all good on Saturday:
Jackson was the signal caller of the secondary, a player Tide coaches trusted to make sure everyone in the secondary was lined up correctly and ready to execute plays the way coaches wanted them executed. Someone else among the defensive backs will now have to step into that role as the signal caller of the secondary.
The more you think about Eddie's college career ending in that fashion, the more it sickens you. Eddie not only serves as a leader on the field, but by all accounts is a fine human being that is universally loved by his coaches and teammates. In his four years on campus he has recovered from a torn ACL, switched positions for the good of the team, and eschewed the NFL Draft to play his senior season. He plays the game with joy and passion, and brings something of a swagger to the secondary. When the team needed a punt returner, Eddie stepped in and became one of the best in the country.
His previous injury came in the spring of 2014, and Eddie made an impression on everyone as he came back well ahead of schedule:
"He always keeps a positive attitude. He never looks at things in a bad way, he always looks at the good that can come out of anything that happens," Eddie Sr. said.
Jackson rehabbed twice a day, five to six times per week. He cut his time back home down to one week, and even that wasn't vacation; Jackson continued his same program at a rehab facility in South Florida, unwilling to get behind on recovery.
During the summer, he took classes at UA and kept firing through rehab sessions.
"I'm not surprised whatsoever," Jackson's high school coach Wayne Blair said. "I was down there at Alabama's football camp (this summer) and he was doing his running at that time. We talked with him, we got to follow him around, we got to sit inside with him in the treatment room, see him go through his rehab. I'm not surprised where he is at all."
He did it once, and you have to believe that he will do it again.
Get well, Eddie, and thanks for everything.
If Alabama had to suffer such an injury, at least it happened going into a bye week. Hootie, it is your time.
Tennison chose the Crimson Tide over 13 other offers including Michigan and Georgia, who finished second and third for him. This wraps up his recruitment as he doesn’t plan to visit anyone else. As a junior, Tennison caught 27 balls for 603 yards and eight touchdowns.
Texas TE Major Tennison is a big dude at 6'6" and 230 pounds. He should be another devastating edge blocker in the mold of Miller Forristall, who has done an outstanding job as a freshman.
That's about it for today. Have a great week, everyone.